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General Mills, Curves Partner In Cereal Box Appearance Contest

by Tanya Irwin, Tuesday, Oct 9, 2007 5:00 AM ET

BORROWING A PAGE FROM ITS Wheaties' "Breakfast of Champions" playbook, General Mills and Curves International are asking for weight-related success stories from women in a contest where the top prize includes the chance to appear on Curves Cereal boxes nationwide.

The contest, "Real Change, Real Women," focuses on what motivated the women to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Women can find out more about the contest at the Curves Foods Web site, www.CurvesFoods.com. The grand prize also includes $5,000, a year-long supply of Curves Cereal and Granola Bars and a 12-month membership to a Curves Club. Four first-prize winners will each receive $1,000 and a six-month membership to a nearby Curves Club, and 25 short-listed finalists will each receive a Curves Cereal and Granola Bars gift basket.

Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress and "Days of Our Lives" star Judi Evans, who publicly struggled with weight management for years following the birth of her son, encourages women to make a change for good on the contest Web site at curvesfoods.com/contest/. By logging on and creating a personal profile at the site, women have access to a free support group.

Minneapolis-based General Mills and Curves partnered this spring to launch a weight management brand and four products under the Curves name. This is the first long-term consumer food partnership for Curves International. Curves Chewy Granola bars (chocolate peanut and strawberries and cream) launched in the spring while Curves cereal (whole grain crunch and honey crunch) debuted recently. In addition to grocery and retail visibility for the new products, Curves Chewy Granola bars are sold at Curves franchises.

As part of the effort to get word out about the new Curves cereal, single-serve boxes were placed in Sunday newspapers in select markets on Oct. 7. There were also small boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Nature Valley, along with coupons for all three. The plastic bag containing the paper and cereals was an ad for all three cereals. The portion promoting the Curves cereals includes the headline: "This time, change for good!" and shows a woman jumping in the air. It includes the URL: curveschangeforgood.com. The coupon flyer includes copy: "You'll love the Great Taste of Whole Grain." It includes the new logo "With Whole Grain" with the General Mills logo on top. The same logo appears on GM cereal with at least eight grams of whole grain per serving, including the three brands included with the newspaper.

The General Mills/Curves product line is part of a long-term partnership in consumer foods that gives General Mills broad, exclusive promotional rights to several key food categories encompassing everything from licensed products to consumer promotion activity. The integrated launch of the new product line will be supported by various promotional and communication vehicles including Web site activation, media and print, as well as the nearly 8,000 Curves locations nationwide.

Among consumer health concerns, weight management is powerfully motivating, according to General Mills. Research shows that 61% of consumers want to lose 20 pounds. General Mills and Curves aim to empower women to adopt a smarter way to manage weight for the long term. The partnership is designed to offer simple, yet effective food and fitness solutions for women to help take weight off and keep it off.


This article is a great example of a trend I've noticed in the consumer packaged goods industry. Because of the over-proliferation of mass media advertising, many consumers have become desensitized to traditional forms of advertising. Companies are responding to this by partnering w/ orgranizations and celebrities in order to drive brand awareness and trial. In order to ensure that marketing/advertising dollars are being spent effectively, many large companies will forego TV commercials/print ads for, say, a mention on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

It seems to be effective, without using numbers, I would say that I've seen distinct spikes in volume following recognition by a social or cultural person or organization.

The question I ask myself is what the other partnering organization has to gain by joining forces w/ the consumer goods company? Is it all about money? I don't work in this area and don't know about the financial and legal implications of this unique (yet growing in popularity) "partnership".

The example in the article is Curves and General Mills. I understand the mutual benefits of this relationship - General Mills connects with a specific segment of consumers and Curves gets their brand promoted and distributed across the country. But what about Oprah? It appears to me that General Mills needs Oprah more than Oprah needs General Mills. Therefore, I'd be interested in seeing the background on how these partnerships are established and what each party has to gain.